Richard Lou Hemenez Colonel, USMCR
February 23, 1940 – October 23, 2017
Richard Lou Hemenez passed away at his home in Vista, California on October 23, 2017 at the age of 77.
Richard was born to Louciano and Incarnacion Hemenez in Glendale, California. The oldest of two children, Richard and his younger sister, Sharon, grew up in Inglewood and then Malibu, in a modest home with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean.
Richard graduated from St. Monica Catholic High School in 1957 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in 1961. While at UCLA, Richard joined the Lamda Chi Alpha fraternity, was invited to be a member of the Golden Key Honour Society, and was selected to participate in Project India, a formative experience that took him and a small group of Bruins to universities throughout India.
Concurrent with his university graduation, Richard was commissioned as a 2d Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
He married Julia Martinez of Santa Monica in late December, 1963. Richard and Julia had four children, Kristen Incarnacion, Marie Elena, Mateo Richard, and Linnea Pilar. The family resided in San Clemente, Oahu, and Mar Vista, California, until moving to Vista, California in 1973. Prior to the move, Richard spent 1966 in Vietnam as a Marine intelligence officer. Richard later left active duty and entered the Marine Reserves, where he would serve faithfully for nearly 30 years.
Richard worked for Hughes Aircraft in Culver City and later in Carlsbad until 1978, when he left to run his own business, San Diego Floor Covering Supplies, in San Marcos. The business expanded to add facilities in San Marcos, El Cajon, and National City, and for many years his customers were greeted with a generous smile and a story. He sold the business in 1999.
Perhaps one of Richard’s proudest moments was when McFarland Books published his annotated bibliography entitled The United States Marine Corps In Books and the Performing Arts. This extraordinary reference work represented the union of two of his greatest passions: books and the United States Marine Corps.
Richard was also active in the Vista community. He was a member of the Friends of the Vista Library, a season ticketholder at the local Moonlight Amphitheatre, a softball coach for his daughters, and a knowledgeable and supportive mentor to many. Along the way, Richard earned an MBA from USC and went on to teach business courses at Mira Costa College. During retirement, he found a hidden calling, which was working with troubled high school students and those who were severely disabled as a long-term sub at California Avenue, Serra Vista, and Alta Vista High School. He also dedicated his time as a member of the Vista Fire Board of Directors, a post he was first elected to in 1987 and would hold until his passing, his last year as President.
Richard is survived by his wife, Julia; children Kristen (James), Marie (Troy), Mateo (Josie), Linnea (Duane); grandchildren Kristin, Brady, Lucas, Aidan, Cole, and Colin; great-grandchildren Jessica, Adrien, and KaiLani; and, the many family members and friends who loved “Rich,” “Uncle Richard,” “Mr. H.,” and “The Colonel.”